Electoral College Certification Objections

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Electoral College Certification Objections
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This top story is from our daily newsletter which was published on January 4, 2021. To have this and more delivered directly to your inbox scroll down and enter your email or click here to sign up. Cover Photo: U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas taken by Gage Skidmore (CC 2.0)

Top Story from The Hill: “Eleven Senate Republicans on Saturday announced that they will vote for objections to the Electoral College results Wednesday, when Congress convenes in a joint session to formally count the vote.” Axios notes that “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had hoped to avoid the spectacle of his party leading a last-ditch effort to prevent Joe Biden from being declared the 2020 election winner, but Josh Hawley of Missouri said he would raise a general objection and now other Republican senators plan to air more specific grievances.” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is leading the group, calling for the implementation of an Electoral Commission to conduct an emergency audit of the results. Here’s what both sides are saying about the eleventh-hour objections:

On the Left: Democrats and left-leaning outlets are calling the push for an Electoral audit, a “threat to Democracy” and a “Futile Bid by G.O.P. Lawmakers to Overturn the Election.” They are focusing most of their coverage on Congress members who support the audit and the fissure it’s creating in the Republican party. For example, Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large, writes that President Trump “… is entirely comfortable ripping the Republican Party in two: Those who back him until the bitter end (and beyond) and those who, well, don’t.” Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei of Axios add: “President Trump is torching his own party and its leaders on his way out of power — and tossing gas on the fire with a public call for mass protest [this] week and a vote to overturn his defeat.” In an opinion piece for The Hill, Scott Harshbarger and Dennis Aftergut argue that Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley is one of the Senators who has sided with Trump. For Hawley, who is considering running for President in 2024, they write that he has tied himself “to Trump’s mast. Trump has an ocean of followers [therefore] for Republican primary contenders, it’s sink or sail in that sea.” Harshbarger and Aftergut say the calls for an electoral audit are a “doomed fight” but lawyers like Hawley and Cruz know it matters because “there will be rabid speechmaking followed on Facebook and Fox. Even if the objections fail, the theatrics will accelerate the fire Trump is happy to set, burning down the house of our government’s legitimacy.” Peter Wade of Rolling Stone ends by saying “their efforts may have a backfire effect. As the Senate runoff election Georgia approaches, undermining public faith in the democratic process may depress Republican voter turnout.”

On the Right: Conservatives and right-leaning outlets focused their reporting on what they perceived to be hypocritical claims from the left. For example, Tyler Olson of Fox News writes “Hawley’s move is certainly not unprecedented.” In fact, “the last three times a Republican has been elected president — Trump in 2016 and George W. Bush in both 2000 and 2004 — Democrats in the House have brought objections to the electoral votes in states the GOP nominee won. In early 2005 specifically, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., along with Rep. Stephanie Tubbs, D-Ohio, objected to Bush’s 2004 electoral votes in Ohio.” Olson says “the objection by Boxer and Tubbs serves as a modern precedent for what is likely to happen in Congress on Jan. 6.” Roger Kimball of AmGreatness also points to when “Democrats went wild in 2004 when George W. Bush won the election.” He says, “Remember what they have been doing to Donald Trump since before he was inaugurated in 2016? (See this handy round up.) Spare me the lectures about ‘civility,’ ‘the peaceful transfer of power,’ and the general awfulness of Donald Trump. Turnabout is fair play, especially in a game when letting things go means ensuring more of the bad treatment you just endured. If anyone has it coming, it is the Democrats—and they deserve to get it good and hard.” In conclusion, Jonathan Turley writes, “Napoleon once said ‘treason is a matter of dates.’ The Democrats seem to have taken Napoleon’s words to heart in declaring Republicans traitors or anti-Democratic in their planned challenge to the certification of electoral votes.” Turley says, “Both the media and Democratic members have advanced this narrative despite Democratic members repeatedly raising such challenges in the past.”

Flag This: The Republicans calling for an Electoral audit acknowledge that their push likely won’t impact the outcome of the Presidential Election. In a statement, they write they aren’t trying to “thwart the democratic process” but to restore Americans’ faith in it. “We are not naive. We fully expect most if not all Democrats, and perhaps more than a few Republicans, to vote otherwise,” they note. “But support of election integrity should not be a partisan issue. A fair and credible audit—conducted expeditiously and completed well before January 20—would dramatically improve Americans’ faith in our electoral process and would significantly enhance the legitimacy of whoever becomes our next President.”